skip to main content

Outdoor adventures,

April 17 2023

Summer in London

When the sun shines, London blooms. So, make the most of the summer and explore the outdoors. Feel the sun on your face and watch it disappear behind the London skyline at sunset. Take advantage of the busy summer festivals that fill London with energy and fun long into the night. There are strawberries and Pimm’s courtside for epic Wimbledon matches, gorgeous open air cinemas and plenty of restaurant terraces and rooftop bars. This is your guide to the best things to do and places to go in London during summer. 

Festival season

From May to September, there’s a festival somewhere, packed with summer activities in London. It’s peak festival season in the capital and has many opportunities to enjoy a fun party atmosphere. 


In June, London’s finest food and drinks arrive at the Taste Festival. See London’s finest floral displays and get garden inspiration at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival. Or tap your feet to London’s finest musicians across the capital in the London Jazz Festival Summer Series


In July, fill up on chicken wings and beer at Wingfest. Wireless Festival sees global music legends headline and UK-exclusive special guests perform at Finsbury Park. If you love all things Japanese, don’t miss Hyper Japan at Olympia London, a cultural celebration of cosplay, martial arts, food and fashion. 


August bank holiday is a giant party thanks to the world famous Notting Hill Carnival. For a beer-off, a ticket for the London Craft Beer Festival includes all your beer, with tasters from more than 100 breweries. All Points East Festival at East London’s Victoria Park, is a 10-day celebration, with a festival weekend, community events and three headline shows, with free entry for four days. 


Beer gardens and rooftop bars

Summer in London brings with it warm evenings, and sometimes there’s nothing better than enjoying a cool drink in the late sunshine, soaking up city views and enjoying the convivial atmosphere. Head to Aerial Rooftop at The Broadcaster for refreshing cocktails, cool pints and pub food on a stylish rooftop bar in the iconic Television Centre. 


Former East London car park turned rooftop bar, Skylight Tobacco Dock has a party atmosphere. Bring friends for beer, wine and street food. You can also play a game of croquet or catch a live sport screening at their Urban Lawn Club on the roof.


Open-air cinemas

Catch a movie under the stars at one of London’s many outdoor screenings. It’s one of the most popular things to do in London this summer, and there are pop-up screenings in London Parks, rooftop cinemas and even free film festivals. One of London’s quirkiest outdoor cinema experiences is Openaire Cinema in Merchant Square, Paddington. You float over to the screen and watch a movie from your boat seat! 


Peckham’s Bussey Building is home to the Rooftop Film Club where you sit in a deckchair with headphones on and watch a cult movie. See a film or watch Tour de France and Wimbledon games for free on the canal side steps of Granary Square in Kings Cross at the Screen Festival all summer long. 


Hit the water

Summer in London can be swelteringly, so when the temperature soars, cool off with a swim, sail or paddle at one of London’s lidos or lakes. Hampstead Heath’s Parliament Hill lido is a 60-metre unheated pool kids love, but there are adult-only swim sessions too. There are also three deep Hampstead ponds for good swimmers: one for women, another for men and a mixed pond where families congregate. You can go kayaking, sailing or windsurfing at the Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre. For a romantic afternoon, go boating on the Serpentine in Hyde Park


Picnic in the park

One of the best places to go during summer is one of London’s royal parks – with a picnic. Hyde Park is in the heart of Central London. It’s delightful to find a quiet spot among the summer blooms, sit on a picnic blanket and tuck into your basket of bread, nibbles and drinks. With so many green spaces and large parks around London, there are plenty of picnic spots away from the crowds and city heat. 


Get the most out of London in summer and stay at one of our Thistle Hotels. Book a room and feel right at home in the heart of London at Thistle Piccadilly, Thistle Kensington Gardens or  

Thistle Marble Arch.